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Why Are You Ignoring Your Oldest Friend?

Photo on 03-03-2018 at 12.03

Why are you ignoring your oldest friend?

It’s always been there with you, holding you up in the hardest of times, crying and laughing with you, always supporting you from the ground up – and yet you steadfastly ignore it!

It talks to you all the time, tells you when it wants to exercise, rest, eat, drink, and yet you treat it rudely.

Well STOP IT! And start paying attention.

Your dog doesn’t speak your language and yet you understand everything he says, when he wants attention, feeding, drink, walkies, you treat him well and love him.

You body does the same. In it’s own language, it tells you when it needs attention, feeding, drink, exercise and rest – so why don’t you listen?

Your ego, your vanity, your fears and desires constantly over rule your oldest friend. You hate it, you punish it, in the gym, ‘no pain no gain!’ stuffing it with food that the media pushes on your subliminal desires, forcing it into uncomfortable clothes, painting it and still looking in the mirror and hating it.

Why don’t you listen? The reason is that your ego won’t shut up, it’s either distracted to every shiny object the media pushes toward you or it’s lazy, because you ate the wrong foods, drunk the wrong drinks, exercised the wrong way ands are obsessed with the little electric square you carry around all day and react like Pavlov’s dogs to every chirrup it makes.

How do you change this and listen?

Be still and aware, let your thoughts and feelings subside. Learn to be mindful.

Let your sensitivity grow. Take your mind through every part of your body, with kindness.

Talk to your oldest friend. Ask it how it feels, listen to all the minor aches and pains, because if you wait until it has to shout – it will be major illness.

Treat it with appropriate exercise and rest whilst paying attention to exactly what it needs and is asking for. Your Friend loves to exercise, to play, to have fun, to rest, to be fed, watered, there’s no need to punish it…… ever.

Treat it the same way you treat your oldest friend, it’s always been there for you and the more care you give it, the more it can give you.

 

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Intensity In Meditation

Photo on 23-10-2017 at 17.52 #3

 

I teach that for mindfulness, meditation and Martial Arts, the mind needs to be aware, focused, sensitive and intense. The right kind of intensity is a key factor and often misunderstood.

You cannot be half hearted. The enemies of the mind are apathy and distraction, to avoid them the mind must be intensely focused and that requires the right kind of effort.

To me, after posture and breathing are correct, it’s like getting into an elevator and dropping instantly 100 floors down. This is both my meditation and fighting mind, it cannot be disrupted.

Sometimes it feels like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, with my toes curling over the edge and precariously balanced.

Bad intensity is disruptive, good intensity is incredibly focused. There is no thinking mind, no ego, no individual, no ‘self’, just an open awareness where everything is in the right place.

The mind has the widest perspective with no barriers, this is where our innate wisdom resides, it’s a place of refuge where the mind can heal – without anger, fear and worry but full of kindness, patience, tolerance and compassion for itself and it’s environment.

In martial arts and intense mindful state is able to respond instantly and appropriately in a natural to any attack, it’s where you are ‘in the zone’.

It requires practice, every second you are mindful, you are alive and ‘awake’, every second you’re not, you’re a distracted, apathetic zombie.

Your choice….

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Direct Knowledge Is Different

steve profile books

 

I used to get my knowledge and wisdom from others at lectures, in books and lecture tapes.  I would meditate for ages on the wisdom of the Buddha, Lao Tsu, Ajhan’s Chah and Sumedho, Alan Watts, Kahil Gibran and many others, I studied Buddhism, Zen, Chan, Taoism, Wicca, Paganism, Ritual Magik, Spiritualism and all their associated arts, but when the breakthrough occurred, I stopped.

No longer did I need to refer to others, because I was able to look inside and find my own ‘wisdom mind’. When I sat or stood still, I could access the part of me that I never could before and I found the true purpose of meditation.

Before, I knew a lot about these subjects and could quote a host of others and what they thought about them, but I didn’t really know what I was talking about because I didn’t have the direct experience. I thought I had because I had the knowledge, but it hadn’t changed me as a person. A big difference!

When a Buddhist monk lectured, they would sit quietly first and when they spoke it was like something spoke through them, they could answer questions with frightening honesty and humility but I never quite got what they were doing until it happened to me. In the Martial Arts I would see true mastery when a teacher could just respond with whatever someone threw at them with ease and never have to bully to impress. Eventually I realised that when you had absorbed the knowledge properly with the right kind of mind – you became it.

Meditation became my study instead of reading, instead of acting the part I became it.  My martial arts training became a meditation. Whenever I needed help or advice, instead of going to a book, I sat still, when I had a problem, in that stillness I always found the answer.

I could teach and lecture without notes, all I had to do was go to that place in my mind and everything came out in a well structured approach sensitive to the audience and students needs.

I had found the difference between knowing about something and actually knowing it.

There are many that know ‘about’ various subjects and can quote just about everyone, but those that really ‘know’ directly and are it, live it every day.

And they truly are like diamonds on a beach of pebbles.

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Mindfulness

mindfulness

 

MINDFULNESS

Our use of the word ‘mind’ in English can be quite versatile.  As a noun it describes our awareness, consciousness and thought, as a verb it can mean ‘to take care of’ like in ‘mind the child’ or when getting on a train ‘mind the gap’, so to be ‘mindful’ is to increase our awareness and consciousness and to take care of our thinking and feelings.

So we ‘mind the mind’, we take care of it.  All the time we remain mindful, we are watching our thoughts, emotions and actions and this act in itself is life changing. Most of the time we are not aware of them because we are them, this is the mindless state as written in the Dhammapada – ‘The mindless are as if dead already’.

When we start to watch and take care of ourselves we begin the process of investigating why we think or do things and the effect those actions have on ourself, others and our environment, this means we become aware of our karma and also begin ‘minding’ others and the world around us.

We realise that we have the choice  – ‘alive, aware, caring and careful’ or ‘dead, thoughtless, not caring and zombie like’, it’s scary when we realise how many ‘zombies’ there are in the world and that we were one of them – and will continue to be if we don’t practice mindfulness continuously!

Any activity that brings us to this calm, aware, focused and sensitive state is mindfulness training, focusing on our breath and/or a calming activity like Tai Chi, walking, sitting, standing or laying down, with good posture and deep breathing will help, too often people become ‘result driven’ and try too hard finding it self defeating. Good posture, deep breathing, allowing and watching the thoughts come and go will gradually reduce the activity of of the brain and bring us to that lovely mindful state where we become aware that we are far more than just one individual, isolated, emotionally damaged, zombie.

When we are in this engaged, mindful state we realise that by letting go our negativity, life becomes much easier as we become more emotionally intelligent, can see all points of view and not want to create unnecessary harm and friction. The irony is that we are more likely to live a happy successful life with meaning and purpose when we can ‘fit in’ with the right kind of lifestyle and people.

Good posture and deep breathing alleviates excessive tension and calms both mind and body, this reduces damage in the body, lowers blood pressure and reduces the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke and many other related illnesses.  It helps us to engage with others and a learning environment, meaning that whilst alive we are learning and using the brain cognitively, reducing the chance of dementia and other forms of early demise.

‘Mindfulness is the path to the deathless – the mindful never die, the mindless are as if dead already’ – Dhammapada 21

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t begin a mindful life from this moment on, I started 40 years ago and have not regretted a single ‘engaged’ moment….

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